Today Facebook made a major announcement about its messaging system, which could lead to major changes in communication. According to the company’s blog:
You decide how you want to talk to your friends: via SMS, chat, email or Messages. They will receive your message through whatever medium or device is convenient for them, and you can both have a conversation in real time. You shouldn’t have to remember who prefers IM over email or worry about which technology to use. Simply choose their name and type a message.
While Facebook isn’t the only major company to try and develop a new method of written communication (remember Google Wave?), it has a major advantage: over 500 million registered users.
Facebook’s new messaging system won’t be an overnight success, as a lot of people (especially for business) will continue using their regular email addresses. However, Facebook messages should set off a spark socially, allowing people to communicate freely and easily in whatever method they’d like. The competition here will come from video and audio chat, which Apple is marketing heavily. But it’s really only a matter of time until Facebook ads that option.
What could be the major turning point for businesses, is a built-in for Microsoft office. According to USA Today, Microsoft Office will also be part of the new Facebook messaging system, and in the coming months you’ll be able to view Word, Excel and PowerPoint attachments with Office Web Apps directly in Facebook.
That is a big difference-maker.